Shirley-Ann Feliciano who ranked in the top 5 in her senior class at Metropolitan Business Academy, received recognition and a Kindle Tuesday along with 20 other high-school graduates who grew up in public housing.
That happened at a recognition ceremony held at the monthly Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) commissioners’ meeting on Orange Street.
Starting in the fall Feliciano will be a pre-law student at the University of New Haven. She has aspired to become a prosecuting attorney ever since she was child, looking forward to putting the bad guys away. “I feel that’s the way I am going to help my community,” she said.
Feliciano, who holds a GPA of 4.36, she was surprised to learned she’d cracked her school’s Top 5. “I thought I was going to be top 10,” she said smiling. To prepare for her journey to a legal career, Feliciano has taken prep classes such as a business law course, which helped keep her motivated.
“My mom always taught me if you work hard for something it’ll be worth it at the end,” said Feliciano
Tuesday’s recognition and gift ceremony, the housing authority’s first, honored seniors who will attend college or vocational training programs or join the military post graduation.
“We really wanted academic success for kids,” said HANH Executive Director Karen DuBois-Walton. The authority has a program called HANH Believes, which provides after school homework help and support for parents to better engage their children. It also partners with programs such as New Haven Promise to better inform families of available services.
The program will keep track of the seniors as they move on, DuBois-Walton said. “We really want to support these kids as they graduate, and stay connected when they come home.” She also vows to focus on the retention rate, to make sure kids are not only going to college but also staying in college.
Wilbur Cross seniors Tamara Gray, who lives at Quinnipiac Terrace, and Daejah Brown, from Farnam Courts, were both recipients. “I greatly appreciate the support,” said Gray, who will attend UCONN at the Waterbury campus this fall.
Brown will attend Tiffin University in Ohio next fall. “A lot of people don’t believe in people our age graduating high school,” she said. She plans to major in criminal justice, with the goal of becoming a police detective.